Not compatible with life but Compatible with Love…
I still remember how my stomach turned as the Fetal Medicine specialist told me over the phone at 30 weeks gestation that our baby was “not compatible with life”, because she had tested positive for full Trisomy 18, she didn’t have a chance to live and she probably wouldn’t live without assistance from the very people that had labelled her as that. I know exactly where I was (in the car outside Pizza hut for a lunch date with Nath) and how I felt when they asked (at 30 weeks) if I wanted to end this now with an early induction?!
So because my daughter was not compatible with life, it also meant she was not compatible with love?
Thankfully my heroes at the Hospice believed she was and Emma has taught me this and been our friend ever since. We visited again this week to discuss with her “Poppy’s Gift” a little gift of love our family have set up in Poppy’s remembrance to help other families with a similar diagnosis to know their baby is compatible with love and to know we want to support their desire to wrap them in love for however long they have them. The thing that brought a lot of comfort to us was the blanket that Naths mum had made her and the hat and cardigan my mum made were essential when she was born and so we decided to include them in a little gift pack for the Hospice to take to families referred to them and these will continue to be knitted by volunteers and packaged up by us. I still have Poppy’s blanket (of course) and in the early days it filled my arms, as a new mother with no baby it gave me something to hold, something physical to look at to remind me she was here. It almost told me “you are a mother and you wrapped and held your baby in this”. Now It sits a little further away from my bedside but I still look at it and touch it occasionally and remember her little body wrapped inside.
Emma also gave the kids some Christmas gifts from the hospice that Santa had left them, which made their life (that and the flapjack they seemed to scatter everywhere) and gave me a special gift too – the leaflet they have been working on and that will go out to hospitals for antenatal referrals. Inside is our story, another way we wanted to spread the word that their babies are compatible with love and another way to help Poppy live on and for others to know of her:
I feel so pleased that despite our loss we have been able to use our experience in these short months to be able to help other families that have to face a “not compatible with life” diagnosis. Whilst my grief is still under the surface and quite regularly erupts, working on these projects with the hospice and finding these ways to keep Poppy’s memory alive have helped me to heal some. I feel I am finding healthy ways to remember her, and ways in which she can touch the lives of others for the better (something I hope all of my children will do) and give a gift to them because of her life.
I felt so positive and peaceful and that life was beginning again that I also chose not attend this months SANDS meeting. I haven’t made my mind up yet if this was a brave thing to do or a mistake Ive made but on the day I just felt so good at where I was at in that moment that I didn’t need to bring up Poppy, I didn’t need to relive what happened and I didn’t have the capacity to share the load of others grief either. I just felt like a ray of sunshine was poking through the clouds, that things in the world were starting to look good again and that I had no more energy than to bask in it until the clouds cast over and the storms hit again.